Influence of Known Psychosocial Smoking Risk Factors on Egyptian Adolescents' Cigarette Smoking Behavior

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Family, Life Course, and Society | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Race and Ethnicity | Substance Abuse and Addiction


The morbidity and mortality associated with cigarette smoking is shifting from the developed world to developing countries, especially developing Arab countries. One such country is Egypt, which has the highest rate of tobacco consumption in the Arab world. To curb the rising smoking epidemic in Egypt, appropriate adolescent smoking prevention programs need to be developed. Most of the effective adolescent smoking prevention programs are based on the social influence approach, which targets the proximal psychosocial variables believed to promote adolescent smoking. However, most of our understanding of adolescents' psychosocial smoking risk factors is based mainly on Western studies. Whether these factors have the same influence on Egyptian adolescents' smoking behavior has not been investigated to date. An understanding of the psychosocial correlates of smoking behavior among Egyptian adolescents may help in designing the appropriate smoking prevention program aimed at this population. This study reports the results of a cross-sectional survey administered to a random sample of 1930 students in grades 7, 9 and 12 in the city of Alexandria, Egypt, in May 2003. Adolescent smoking behavior was positively associated with positive beliefs about smoking, sibling, parent and peer smoking, and social smoking norms, with sibling smoking and perceived adult smoking norms having a stronger influence on adolescents' smoking behavior than peer smoking and perceived peer smoking norms. Refusal self-efficacy was protective against smoking behavior, while knowledge of the short-term negative consequences of smoking was protective against susceptibility to future smoking among females only. The results suggest that adolescents from collective cultures, like Egypt, are more influenced by their family's smoking behavior and perceived adult smoking norms than their peers' smoking behavior and perceived peer smoking norms. Smoking prevention programs aimed at Egyptian adolescents should be accompanied by smoking cessation programs for the family and adult community members.

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© 2005 Oxford University Press